More areas in the Philippines’ Central Luzon region north of the capital Manila were submerged in up to 1.5m of water on July 25 as days of incessant southwest monsoon rain continued, affecting over 80,000 persons, authorities said.
Pampanga governor Dennis Pineda on July 25 advised mayors to carry out forced evacuations in areas where floods have reached critical level.
The number of flooded villages in the province rose from 23 at the height of Typhoon “Fabian” – known internationally as In-fa – on July 22 to 72 as of July 25, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).
The rising waters have affected 18,039 families, or 84,386 residents, in Pampanga, it said.
The number of affected families was projected to rise as more flooded areas were reported in the provinces of Bulacan and Zambales.
Floodwater, as high as 1.5m in some areas, was reported in Pampanga’s towns of Candaba, Masantol, Macabebe, Lubao, Apalit, Guagua, Porac, Sasmuan, Bacolor, Minalin and Santo Tomas; and this capital city.
Pampanga River overflowed, inundating waterways in Candaba and as far as Zaragoza town in Nueva Ecija province, the PDRRMC said, citing data from the Pampanga River Flood Forecasting Centre.
The persistent rains also triggered a landslide at the Apalit riverbanks, and eroded a riverbank of Sapang Balen Creek at Barangay Santa Rita in Magalang town.
In Bulacan, almost all 21 towns and cities in the province have been dealing with rising waters, and 303 families – 1,076 residents – were evacuated on July 25 as water rose up to 1.5m in some localities due to last week’s rains and high tide, according to its PDRRM office.
The 1.5m floods struck Barangay Bulihan in Malolos City while 1m water inundated villages in the towns of Guiguinto and Calumpit. The towns of Paombong, Plaridel, Bocaue, Bulakan, Hagonoy and Obando, and the City of Meycauayan recorded 60cm-high floodwaters.
In Olongapo City, an independent city in Zambales province, families living around the river traversing the villages of Mabayuan and Kalaklan were told to prepare to seek higher ground on the morning of July 25.
Authorities in Ilocos Norte, meanwhile, said they were preparing to evacuate residents in Bacarra town as the continuous downpour had caused Bislak River to swell.
Ipo Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, released water at a rate of 38 cubic metres per second to ease pressure on its reservoir, which measured 100.56m above sea level (masl). Its spilling level is 101m.
Bustos Dam in Bustos town of Bulacan had also been discharging water since July 24, and had raised the rate of release to 156cm on the morning of July 25 when its elevation reached 16.36masl Its spilling level is 17m.
The elevation of Angat Dam in Norzagaray rose by a metre from 185.89masl on July 24 to 186.88masl on July 25.
In Cabanatuan City, the rains brought by Fabian and by the southwest monsoon in the last few days have helped fill up the reservoir in Pantabangan Dam.
As of July 24, Pantabangan Dam’s elevation was at 182.86masl, or 38.15m from its spilling level of 221m, records showed.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK